White Professor Avoids Discipline For Using N-Word While Quoting '8 Mile'

Professor and students in lecture hall

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A white professor working at a New York university reportedly upset students when he used the N-word while quoting a scene from the film 8 Mile over a month ago. Following a Title IX complaint, Columbia University will not discipline said educator, the New York Post reported Monday (December 6).

On October 28, tenured professor Jonathan Rieder uttered the term during a lecture, according to the school's newspaper The Columbia Spectator. He thought pronouncing the slur with an "a" at the end instead of "er" was permissible.

“In retrospect, it’s fair to say that I didn’t need to quote the word,” Rieder wrote to students in an email obtained by Bwog. “I regret any pain or offense caused by my quoting, whether one student or the whole class felt pain or offense. You should know that in the remaining weeks of the course, no material will call for saying the word.”

The educator works for Barnard College, which is affiliated with Columbia University. The college's office of Nondiscrimination and Title IX "determined that the actions described did not meet the threshold for discriminatory harassment and that there was no basis for further investigation," a school spokesperson told the Spectator.

Frustrated students, who remained anonymous in the Spectator's reporting, say Rieder avoided punishment due to his tenured status.

"Those are the benefits of being tenured," one person told student journalists. "You’re allowed to say whatever you want, and you’re allowed to say things that people don’t like."

School officials added that students have the choice to not attend the class. They can also be graded by an outside party to avoid potential retaliation for speaking out, according to the school newspaper. Students reportedly met with other administrative officials, who suggested establishing a committee and policy addressing the use of hate speech in academic settings.

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